Do you want to get a good job? Have you sent hundreds of CVs but have not had an interview yet? If this is your first time working in the UK, you probably do not know what a cover letter is and its importance when applying for a job.

A cover letter is a document with additional information about your skills and experience, which usually accompanies your resume. It is not a copy of your CV but a very important supplement to it, even more important than your CV. With a good cover letter, the employer (i.e., your future boss), can appreciate your style and the way in which you express yourself. You must include why you consider yourself the best person for the position, why you are interested in working with this company or organisation and your availability. With this document you can differentiate yourself from other candidates.

For the format of a cover letter, consider the following suggestions:

At the top of the page you must include your name, address, telephone and email, as in your CV. Then, on the left of the page, you must write the date you are writing the letter, the name of the person your letter is addressed to and the address of the company. If you do not know their name, you can just write their position, i.e., “Director, Manager…”. Then, you can continue with the letter with a very similar format to a business letter.

A cover letter should have the following structure:

First paragraph 

- You must state the post you are applying for
- You must indicate where you found the advert for this post. 

Second paragraph

- Why you are interested in this job

- Why you would like to work for this company

Third paragraph 

- Summarise your strengths in order to be considered the best candidate for this position

- Relate your skills to the competencies required for the position

Last paragraph

- When you are available to start work (at the end if it is a placement)

- Thank the employer and write this sentence “I look forward to hearing from you soon” If you start the letter with a name, e.g. “Dear Mr Smith”, you must end the letter with the phrase “Yours sincerely”. On the other hand, if you start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam”, you must end it with “Yours faithfully”.

Click on the link to find a website where you can write and design your own cover letter with the help of some templates. Click here to read lots of tips for writing successful cover letters. Lastly, by clicking on the following links, you can see some examples of good cover letters:

Example 1 - Newspaper Reply- Retail Sales

Example 2 - Email Cover Letter- Docent

Example 3 - Cover Note for a Company Website- Driver

Example 4 - Cover Letter for Catering Sales Manager, to Human Resources